Tuesday, August 6, 2019

[UPDATE] Northlake Mall Redevelopment Still Happening...Soon...

ToNeTo Atlanta reported last week that the owners of Cumberland Mall in Smyrna would be dividing their former Sears "box" into at least three new tenant spaces in 2020.  With plans materializing at Cumberland Mall, our thoughts turned to the redevelopment of Northlake Mall and its former Sears store.  It has been nearly three and half years since Dallas-based ATR Corinth Partners purchased Northlake Mall, and essentially nothing visible to the public has happened during that time.

As with so much in real estate, what the public can see is often the culmination of days, weeks, months and in this case years, of behind-the-scenes negotiations, planning and politicking.  Tony Ruggeri, partner at ATR Corinth, like many in the community, would like nothing more than to begin physical work at the largely vacant mall.  Ruggeri tells ToNeTo Atlanta that the process today is more time consuming than it has ever been before.


Ruggeri indicated that the long, drawn out process at Northlake Mall is not an Atlanta issue or a Tucker issue, but rather a result of today's retail climate in which every new store, every lease, and every commitment to expand is scrutinized far more than ever before, by most, if not all, would-be tenants, especially larger ones.  

Ruggeri added that while he and others are bullish on Northlake, it's not considered "Main & Main" like a Buckhead deal, for instance, meaning that for some, it takes even more convincing to get deals done and leases signed.

The ATR team remains committed to the Northlake Mall project and are steadfast in their leasing efforts.  Ruggeri told ToNeTo Atlanta that the final result, which he anticipates the community embracing, will be a mix of retail, restaurant and medical offices.  

As far as updates to the mall itself, popular Northlake Mall eatery Fork in the Road relocated from the front of the mall to a former Wendy's on LaVista Road this past March.  In May, the City of Tucker approved ATR's requested annexation into Tucker.  The annexation took affect June 1.  

Ruggeri was hesitant to predict when there would be visible progress at Northlake Mall, but he is optimistic that there will be something more exciting to look at in 2020.  

What would you like most to see open at Northlake Mall?  What type of business do you feel is lacking in Tucker?  When do you think the re-imagined Northlake Mall will actually open?  

Please share your thoughts below  

38 comments:

Nancy said...

I was so excited when Simon sold this mall. Three long years ago. I anticipated some real change. Since then, all we have heard is, "it's coming, we promise"..... I hope so. But at this point my attitude is, I'll believe it when it happens. And I won't be surprised if that is long after I am gone.

16chickens said...

I would like to see it raised and either a Forum type retail facility or a park. It should never have been constructed with some occupants owning their buildings. Dumb idea and stupid of lender to finance it. Simon never appreciated the buying power of the community and almost encouraged a migration to Lenox or other malls. Northlake has a history which is hard to erase. No wonder potential tenants are spooked especially if you take a walk in there.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see Fork in the Road re-locate back to a larger space at the mall, because I don't like the 'fit' of the former Wendys.

I'm skeptical of anything flourishing at Northlake, except for maybe if Dardens put a few of their medium-end chains there. I could also see it being a good location for a large John Wieland Community or similar (just level it all and replace with mix of townhomes, single-family-detached, parks).

Jenna said...

Seems it would be most beneficial to modernize into a large-scale plaza rather than an old-school indoor mall, which is the wave of the past.

Anonymous said...

What you need there is a COSCO and some more Medical spaces

Wmac said...

costco

Run Faster Now said...

Costco

Anonymous said...

Why is Emory talking about moving some offices/conference ctr to Nlake, DeKalb Cty taking about redevelopment and yet Corinth is quiet about what is going on. Not good PR and makes community mistrust them.......

Anonymous said...

What about North Dekalb Mall? That mall is almost completely empty. It's an absolute joke. Either tear it down and build something better in its place or work to redevelop it. Don't just leave it sitting there, 90% empty. There's no excuse for being held hostage like this for those of us who live in the area. There's plenty of money in North Dekalb to support something better than the current atrocity

Go East Point Go said...

Trader Joe's

Unknown said...

Costco will draw more retail traffic to the mall and other businesses will follow. Some quality restaurants will have ample parking and easy access off 285.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see a combination of sports places like Skyzone or Urban Air or Sparkles so that we don't have to keep spending money in areas in which we don't live or see a return. I mean who wants to continually drive to Alpharetta or Marietta or Duluth to always have kid entertainment?
Or how about a Tanger Outlets instead of always having to drive an hour+ away? Yes the mall is dead but people love going outlet shopping. Tucker could easily be a destination place. The mall is situated almost right off the interstate of both 285 and 85. And restaurants both Mom and Pop and chain restaurants. Yes Perimeter is technically down the road but have you been down the road on a week night on 285 to get there and back? I don't see why we have to keep traveling to other places when Tucker has all this open available space that needs to be reinvented. There is so much that could go into the mall area. Yes even a Costco and then some.
But let's stop talking about it and start acting on it. I mean the Costco could go in the old Toy R Us shopping center. That place is pretty much barren now.
Give Dicks some competition with Academy Sports.
Lastly, in my opinion I don't think we need more medical offices and more apartments. Our schools are overcrowded as it is and builders never consider where the children will go to school once the apartments are built. So unless we ask builders to build new schools when they are erecting these apartments then we have to be aware of this issue.

Build it they will come!

Anonymous said...

The developer doesn't even have this property listed on their website. They either underestimated how bad the situation at this mall is, or they don't have the capital to do what needs to be done to fix it. I'm assuming they're waiting for someone to buy it off of them and try to turn a profit.

Anonymous said...

Emory Healthcare is slated to occupy the former Sears location. Time frame of about 3 years.

Anonymous said...

Razed

Anonymous said...

When Simon owned the mall through the 2000s, they stated that they "really were going to do something with the mall when the economy improved." They did nothing to the mall for years. The current owners seam to be the same. All talk and no action. The community deserves better.

Anonymous said...

wasn't the mall recently annexed into city of Tucker? That should hasten the pace of things.

The neighborhoods around North Dekalb Mall were strongholds of anti-cityhood sentiment, and that mall will likely remain stagnant or disappointing for a very long time.

Anonymous said...

The demographic of the Northlake area does tend to be older so Emory makes sense, but not very exciting for the rest of the space.

Anonymous said...

Nobody goes there because there's no place to park.

I'd like to see a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods put there instead.

Anonymous said...

More nicer Restaurants would be a positive. The ones people actually enjoy. Family entertainment would be a plus there are no kid friendly activities in the area. Bowling, skating, games. As far as the mall all the stores are kind of flea market, better quality would go a long way. I only go for Macys and Jcpenney. I think the food court should just not exist. American deli is the only thing worth eating. Northlake has good bones. I say look at perimeter mall and then take the good and do it at northlake on a simpler scale. But nice cause the tucker community and others will support .

Unknown said...

Agreed!!! 100 percent!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Exactly what are you saying?

Anonymous said...

Retirement community!
With a Trader Joes so the retirees can shop.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see a Big Lots or Ollie's Bargain Outlet in this area. Good products at fair prices.

Anonymous said...

Mall appears to be a destination mall for those living 20+ min away, than those living 2 miles away. Those living locally are either heading to Perimeter, Lenox or shopping online. Given local demographics, Kohl’s should be thriving at Northlake, instead it closed.

The idea of serving more mid-level Darden restaurants makes sense, and will be a great draw for those driving 20+ min to the mall. Olive Garden would crush it, without competing with local choices such as Bambinelli’s. Even higher end chains like Cheesecake Factory could likely pack it in as a draw.

A Main Event makes sense or Skyzone for bday parties could work well, separated from main mall entrance. Along with medical space these could strongly serve the community and be successful.

In terms of physical retail, think it’s a lost cause to see a restored mall golden era that those in Tucker or unincorporated LaVista Hills (Oak Grove) say they want. The theme of the interior stores are spoken for. It’s every name brand and mom and pop athletic shoe store, and no shortage mom and pop stores selling nightclub dresses. Victoria’s Secret can still thrive, but Banana Republic, Apple Store or Microsoft Store likely won’t be making a build in the next decade.

Wish everyone the best. Northlake funneling through Tucker and not DeKalb for certain admin issues gives this mall a chance that North DeKalb Mall will never have. Let’s hope ground is broken on something meaningful before the next recession begins.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see a Fazoli's, Long John Silver, Captain D's and/or a Burger King in the food court. delicious!

Planet Scott said...

What's with all the love for Trader Joe's? They sell mostly garbage food.

Anonymous said...

Planet Scott - wouldn't TJs be perfect for retirees with muted taste buds?!

Also, Olive Garden WAS at Northlake. It was behind the mall on Northlake Parkway next to Chili's and across the street from Service Merchandise (now LA Fitness). I worked there in 1990 and it was pretty popular back then.

People think of Tucker as a separate market from Perimeter but my guess is most folks who live in that area will drive to Perimeter for a sit down meal. So opening another location in Tucker would just cannibalize their existing location.

Anyone here remember when Bennigans was the hot place near Northlake?

Megan Tee said...

And the "easy access off 285" will also he changing drastically with the GDOT plans for new express lanes (from Roswell Rd to I20, right past us) and flyovers set to begin 2020. These developers need to GET on the ball!
Hexk the Northlake Exit and entrance will be completely gone.

Megan Tee said...

Agreed with above long post. 100 percent

Anonymous said...

A masterplan if the entire mall property first.

Possibly set it all on a grid with outparcels having a few more hotels, midrise to highrise apartments and condos and senior housing.

Reinvent the mall with one level retail and the other for medical, incubator space for Emory or entrepreneurs, pop up and start up businesses.

Sears could be pulled apart some and converted to loft housing on one or both levels. The Sears Automotive also could be a gym, restaurant, or housing.

The imagination is the only limit.

Anonymous said...

Black box theater and dance studio in the old Sears Automotive Center.
Fitness center for any and all Eory Healthcare employees and patients.
Skstepark in a corner of the parking lot.
DeKalb Central Library...relocated and expanded.
Assisted Living facility on one corner of the property.
Transportation hub for I 285...shuttle buses, carpools, MARTA mini hub, uber and Lyft hub, eyc.

Anonymous said...

Green space.
Performing Arts Center on a regional scale.
Weekend market in the parking lot....antiques, food, crafts. A place for small businesses to get their start.
A charter school.
A center for technology, medical sciences, offices, research, start up businesses.
DeKalb government offices satellite location.
Skate park on one corner of the parking lot.
Culver's.
Dog park.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see a Rooms to Go store in this area.

Anonymous said...

I managed this center for Simon in the early to mid 2000's. It is a great redevelopment play and a good piece of land. The issue is de-constructing, modifying, and rebuilding takes a good amount of capital. I know Macy's owns their pads but not sure about Sears and JCP. I hope this developer can make a go of it.

Anonymous said...

The Northlake area is saturated with low-rent or completely empty retail spaces in poorly-planned shopping centers with horrible flow and visibility.
For example, Northlake Festival.

While that may mean cheap rent for businesses, it does not present a very good case for razing the mall for a flashy new re-development. Rents would be too high versus the local market. For that to work, some of the empty or unpopular retail space in the local market needs to be eliminated to reduce supply and justify higher per SF rent prices for the developer to make a profit. That wouldn't happen without the County or City taking out municipal bonds to buy out disused parcels to create a park or something.

I would rather see ATR raze the property and replace with townhomes or mixed use residential/dining/limited retail. The ITP location is prime for commuters, is connected to MARTA, and the amount of new, modern housing stock in this area is very limited. The tax revenue would be very beneficial to Dekalb (property tax) and Tucker (business tax, liquor by drink tax, etc.).

Anonymous said...

Green space don’t pay commercial taxes. Performing Arts Center already exists, in Cobb at 75/285

Anonymous said...

Wishlist for Northlake Mall: Walking/biking path with play areas around the perimeter, pedestrian bridges or tunnels to Briarcliff Village and Northlake Festival, MARTA park-and-ride spaces, perhaps an area for food-trucks, and mixed use development.

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